U.S. open: Stocks trade flat in shortened session

Financial Markets Wall Street

The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, advanced modestly, gaining 7.2 points, or less than 0.1%, to 8952.88 - a record. Johnson & Johnson slid 0.5%, Southwest Airlines dropped 0.9% and Verizon Communications fell 0.5%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 hovered near Monday's closes - the indexes' highest ever - for most of the session, bobbing above and below the flatline.

For some investors on Wall Street at this time previous year it was a Nightmare before Christmas, as an escalating U.S. - China trade war and Federal Reserve interest rate hikes cast a pall over the holiday.

Trican Well Service Ltd. gained three cents or 2.7 per cent to $1.15.

"This holiday period should be rather calm as trade updates appear very constructive as we near the finalization of the Phase 1 trade deal next month", Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, wrote in a note. -China trade relations that has put the market on course for its best year since 2013. Worries of a recession have receded for now and most analysts agree the USA economy will continue to grow in 2020.

US recession fears have faded after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times. Malaysia's benchmark was down 0.6% while Taiwan gained 12 points.

Still, as traders turn their attention to 2020, fears about the outlook for the global economy remain, as do concerns over unresolved trade issues between Washington and Beijing.

YIELDS: The 10-year Treasury yield slipped to 1.92% from 1.93% late Monday. The departure did not come as a surprise.

Shares in mining company Freeport-McMoRan climbed 1.1% as the price of gold rose.

Shares of Resolute Forest Products Inc., which is buying the Conifex mills to bolster its presence in the U.S. South, gained 25 cents or 6.4 per cent to $4.19.

Dow-member Boeing fell 1.4 per cent after reports the embattled company sent new documents to the congressional committee investigating its response to two deadly crashes. Brent crude, the global standard, added 38 cents at $65.80 per barrel.

Major stock indexes in Asia finished mixed.

In Europe the FTSE 100 rose 0.11% while France's CAC 40 was flat.

Wall Street dipped from near-record levels heading into the Christmas break on Tuesday, as investors paused after a rally propelled by improving U.S. Germany's DAX was closed for Christmas Eve and it won't reopen until Friday.

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